11 October 2023

Residents group slams 'egregious over-development' hotel and apartment proposal at Kingston

| Ian Bushnell
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proposed Kingston development front view

An artist’s impression of the proposed hotel and apartment development in Kennedy Street, Kingston. Images: Cox Architecture.

Zapari’s proposed hotel and unit development in Kingston, notable for a floor of serviced apartments below ground, has been condemned as an “egregious over-development” of the site.

The Kingston Barton Residents Group says in a representation opposing the proposal that it breaches multiple planning rules.

KBRG says the developer had ignored a range of concerns it had presented as part of pre-DA consultation about the scale of the project, setbacks, the below-ground serviced apartments, the ground floor use, overshadowing, overlooking, balcony sizes, tree losses and the Kennedy Street frontage.

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Zapari has lodged a development application for the $28 million four-storey project at 10 Kennedy Street that will deliver 57 serviced apartments and 54 apartments.

President and retired architect and planner Richard Johnston said the proposal was completely unacceptable.

He said over-development was best exemplified by the plot ratio, which was four times the maximum permitted under rule R46 of the Commercial Zones Development Code.

Mr Johnston also criticised putting a floor of serviced apartments in the basement.

“The lower level of hotel units is set two metres below adjacent ground level on the Kennedy Street side and three metres below ground at the rear, which would give these units very poor amenity,” he said.

Zapari has said the first hotel level was technically not below ground due to a large cross-fall on the land.

site plan of proposed development

The Kingston proposal’s site plan.

KBRG says the developer proposed zero setbacks on the front boundary, which required a minimum 6-metre setback under the rules, while the sides and rear setbacks were also non-compliant.

It had told Zapari that a reduced front setback could be considered based on the merits of a revised proposal, but any reduction of the rear setback was not warranted because of potential impacts on the neighbours to the south.

Mr Johnston said the proposed building runs boundary to boundary to the front, back and sides for all the upper (residential) floors, only relieved by small balconies.

KBRG’s representation says that the small balconies will provide poor amenity and not comply with the principal private open space rule, while the south-facing ones do not achieve “reasonable solar access”.

Mr Johnston said nearly half the apartments faced southwest and would not receive any winter sun.

“They would overlook the 15-metre wide pedestrian pathway at the rear, impacting severely on the amenity of the existing apartments facing on to the other side of this pathway through overshadowing and overlooking,” he said.

KBRG says the Winter Solstice Shadow Diagrams show the adjoining blocks (11, 14 and 17 of Section 21) being overshadowed until after 2 pm.

four-storey apartment building rear view

A rear view of the proposal showing the basement entrance. Image: Cox Architecture.

Mr Johnston said the proposal would also be highly inappropriate in the Kennedy Street and Kingston Shops environment because of its excessive scale and lack of ‘active frontages’ and awnings on the street front, as required by the Kingston Precinct Code.

“And despite the removal of 11 significant trees from the site, no work is proposed to enhance the Kennedy Street frontage and only some small-scale planting is suggested on the roof of part of the building,” he said.

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KBRG had told Zapari that the Kennedy Street frontage to the site should be comprehensively redeveloped with upgraded footpath paving and island planters for new, large street trees, with not more than about four angle parking bays between, similar to the design of the southern side of Jardine Street within the group centre.

It says in the representation that the DA meets none of the CZ2 business zone objectives and does not comply with the Kingston Precinct Code relating to desired character.

The car park is seven short of the 162 spaces required, and service vehicles will not be able to enter or leave in a forward direction as required.

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What I love about Canberra is the mixture of greenery in with the city. I’m worried with the over-development that we’re going to lose that? So far we seem to be doing okay but still….

thoughtsonthesubject5:40 pm 16 Oct 23

Are we so short of land in Canberra that people have to live underground like moles? What happens when there is a fire in one of the underground flats? Do they each have their own exit to surface above ground? If the purpose is to beat all other places with regard to the cost of staying overnight in Canberra, surely a capsule hotel like you find in Japan would be preferable. At least every capsule has a window.

Is that you Paul Costigan? These are serviced apartments. No one will force you or anyone else to live there.

thoughtsonthesubject10:21 pm 16 Oct 23

No, it is not Paul Costigan. Nobody is forcing anybody to live there, but Canberra, planned as healthy garden city just over 100 years ago, offering no better budget accommodation than living underground is rather ironic. Luxury apartments on top and budget sleeps in the cellar might, however, produce good material for a new play or book on the stratification of our oh, so egalitarian Australian society.

Do you really think the FIFO workers and other visitors who might use this facility to get a few hours sleep when they’re not working up on the hill or out enjoying what Canberra has to offer are at the lowest level of social stratification? A mate on a short notice overnight visit called a few weeks ago in search of a bed after being quoted $300+ for the night at a mid-range hotel. As the national capital we need to provide inexpensive centrally located short-term accommodation.

Why require awnings on the non-shopping side of the street? I doubt that on this and most of their other issues with the development, the Kingston Barton Residents Group, with just a handful of members, reflects the views the local community.

How can developers completely ignore planning rules? Why aren’t they being enforced?

Why , they will negotiate somewhere , the planning authorities will think they have done a great job and the developer will get most of what they want

This appears to be an appalling proposal. Are they trying to turn Kingston into a slum area ?

Looks like a cellar dweller special. Seems serviced apartments do not require solar access.

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